• 02 Mar 2021 8:57 AM | Jill Waycie

    Welcome to Week 5 of CAA's 2021 Membership Drive! Prizes are still available - JOIN, REFER, or RENEW now!

    This week we're hearing from Jessica Smith, Digital Processing Archivist at North Park University and Archives Assistant at the Chicago History Museum (and recent graduate of Dominican University's MLIS program):

    I was encouraged to join CAA as an intern at the Chicago History Museum in 2018. My BA is in Anthropology and, at the time, I wasn't quite sure how to best develop a career working with museum collections. Joining CAA exposed me to a world of LIS opportunities at museums and elsewhere in the Chicago-area that I never knew existed, and I credit the amazing people I have met through CAA as inspiring me to pursue the MLIS in 2019. Renewing my CAA membership every year is a no-brainer - it's affordable, continuously grows my professional network, and offers incredible learning opportunities at events like the Chicago Open Archives. CAA is the glue that holds the Chicago-area LIS community together - forgive the cliché - and I look forward to many more years as a member.

    Remember: the first 10 new members to sign up before March 16 will receive a CAA-branded journal! If someone referred you to CAA, add their name in the Referring Member field and they could win too! We'll pick 2 referring winners at random during the members meeting in March for a gift card prize. 


    Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay tuned throughout the drive for more on why you should #JoinCAA2021!

  • 22 Feb 2021 9:04 AM | Jill Waycie

    Welcome to Week 4 of CAA's 2021 Membership Drive! Prizes are still available - JOIN, REFER, or RENEW now!

    This week Carol Ng-He, last year's Member of the Year, shares her thoughts on the benefits of membership in CAA:

    CAA is a valuable platform for my career transition from museum education to art librarianship. Since I joined CAA in 2018, I have participated in several archive open houses and events. The experiences inspired me to create an interest group dedicated to curating and exhibitions that would engage members and others in dialogues about best practices and resources in this area for archives and special collections libraries. I owe a debt of gratitude to the CAA and its Steering Committee for their support not only in forming the group, but also helping me personally to grow in the profession. I am thankful for CAA for awarding me the Member of the Year in 2020, which greatly boosts my confidence in my work. It enables me to build my professional network, and even develop friendships. CAA is one of the most welcoming and nurturing groups that I have been part of, and I look forward to many more years as a member.

    Remember: the first 10 new members to sign up before March 16 will receive a CAA-branded journal! If someone referred you to CAA, add their name in the Referring Member field and they could win too! We'll pick 2 referring winners at random during the members meeting in March for a gift card prize. 


    Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay tuned throughout the drive for more on why you should #JoinCAA2021!

  • 15 Feb 2021 7:52 AM | Brittan Nannenga

    The Chicago Area Archivists 2021 Membership Drive continues into its third week! JOIN, REFER, or RENEW now!

    This week we’re hearing from Greer Martin, Metadata Technologies Librarian at Loyola University Chicago, on some of the benefits of CAA membership:

    When I first joined CAA in 2016 I had just moved to Chicago from a college town, where I worked at a large research university. Working as a librarian in a city with many archives, libraries, and museums, rather than just one or two, was a new experience. I wanted to learn more about these institutions and their collections, and meet other archives and library professionals in the area. Joining CAA was the most effective way to do this. CAA events and volunteer opportunities opened so many doors to professional development, and to a deeper understanding of the area, its history, and its archives (and archivists!). My favorite CAA activity is the tours of archives in the area. This is great to get away from your desk for a few hours and visit a different part of the city, learn about an archives’ history, and view its collections. It’s enlightening to see how others work - the tools that they use, the researchers who visit them, and the unique challenges associated with their collections.

    As a CAA member, I was also able to serve on the Steering Committee and later, the Outreach and Membership Engagement Subcommittee. These were incredibly useful opportunities for professional development, and by working alongside more seasoned committee members I learned what a governing body does and gained valuable leadership experience. I also expanded my professional network by working closely with other committee members for years, which is a valuable opportunity, especially if you work at a smaller institution.

    Due to other commitments, my ability to serve on CAA committees and even participate in events has varied over the past five years, but I have never thought twice about renewing my membership each year. Because of the low fee and the number of events, volunteer opportunities, and now, new ways to connect virtually while many of us are working remotely, I’ve been happy to renew each year.

    The 2021 Membership Drive runs from February 1 to March 15. Follow us here and on Twitter and Facebook throughout the drive for more on why you should #JoinCAA2021

  • 08 Feb 2021 8:30 AM | Daniel Harper

    Deadline extended! 

    We are now accepting candidate statements of interest through February 15, 2021.

    Are you interested in becoming more involved in the Chicago archives community? Consider volunteering to serve on the Chicago Area Archivists Steering Committee. Not only will you get to work closely with some of your colleagues in the profession, but CAA service is a great way to gain valuable experience in preparation for service in regional and national archival organizations

    What does the Steering Committee do? The Steering Committee is tasked with

    • Supporting programmatic goals for the organization
    • Responding to the needs of CAA members
    • Representing CAA within the larger profession and to the general public
    • Setting standards to ensure the sustainability of CAA 

    Think you aren't experienced enough to serve on the Steering Committee? Think again: any organization needs fresh viewpoints to remain vibrant. And CAA is meant to serve the needs of all of its members, including those who are new to the profession. 

    What are the requirements? Service on the Steering Committee is open to all CAA members in good standing. Steering Committee members are elected to two-year terms that begin and end shortly after the Annual Members Meeting in the spring. Those elected must be able to commit to monthly meetings with some work conducted virtually between meetings. 

    Candidates for the 2020-22 term will be elected by a vote of CAA members cast electronically after the Annual Members Meeting on Tuesday, March 16, 2021. 

    To volunteer, submit a brief (1-2 paragraph) Statement of Interest outlining your background and motivation for serving on the Steering Committee to info@chicagoarchivists.orgPlease include your full name, title, place of work (if applicable), and preferred contact phone and email address. 

    Statements of interest will be distributed to CAA members prior to the Annual Members Meeting. Candidates will also have an opportunity to introduce themselves at the meeting on March 16, 2021. 

    The deadline to submit your statement is now Monday, February 15, 2021 at 11:59 pm. 

    Please send general questions or comments

  • 01 Feb 2021 8:28 AM | Brittan Nannenga


    The Chicago Area Archivists annual membership drive has begun! We have PRIZES and INCENTIVES for both new members that join and existing members.

    From February 1 until March 15, we will be highlighting the benefits of CAA membership, sharing stories from current members about why membership matters, and offering prizes and incentives to those that join and help spread the word.


    The first 10 new members to sign up during the drive will receive a FREE CAA JOURNAL. It’s customized with the CAA logo, spiral-bound and lined—perfect for managing your archives to-do list.

    Join online—annual dues are only $15.00.


    Refer a friend or colleague to join CAA, you will be entered into a drawing with a chance to win gift card prize.

    Any member who refers a friend or colleague to join CAA during the drive will be added to the pool, and we will pick 2 winners at random at the members meeting in March.

    When new members sign up, they can simply add your name to the Referring Member field.

    Refer your friends early so they have a chance at winning the CAA swag! They might win, you might win...It’s a potential WIN-WIN.


    If you think you have missed the window of opportunity to qualify as one of the first 10 new members to join, there will still be incentives to join later in the drive—including a drawing with a chance to win additional CAA swag!  

    Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay tuned throughout the drive for more on why you should #JoinCAA2021

  • 29 Jan 2021 9:40 AM | Erin Matson

    Did you hear that CAA is on Slack? 

    Are you wondering what Slack is?

    Slack is a messaging platform where CAA members can share and discuss anything archives-related that crosses our personal feeds - news, upcoming events, professional resources. It’s also a place for questions and general professional support. 

    CAA Slack is also used as a gathering place for live discussion during certain events, such as CAA Reacts. (Look out for news about one of these events soon!)

    How to join

    Check out the CAA Slack FAQ page for instructions on how to join, and tips for using the application.

    Stop by #general and say hi!

  • 04 Jan 2021 10:17 AM | Doris Cardenas

    Enjoy the next story in our web series submitted by Paul Blobaum of Governors State University Archives.


    In March 2020, Governors State University extended its Spring break one week, and returned to online delivery.  The Library has been closed since March, and there are no plans to reopen. After being solo for 3 years I had just hired a FTE in December 2019 with the plan to take over Archives coordination following my planned retirement in 2021.  We kept ourselves busy wrapping up GSU 50th Anniversary observance projects, not the least of which is a major historic video digitization project of over 125 reels, begun in April 2019.  We had planned to use Media Communications students to do final production work, collect metadata, and publishing to our digital repository; but I wound up having to do it myself.  I taught myself to edit digital video MP4 and MOV files using open source software (Avid Composer First), on my Archives remote workstation using VPN and Remote Desktop.  Following numerous technical problems, I was able to publish very large files using modified URLS in Dropbox to our Digital Commons repository, OPUS, at  Archives projects were farmed out to library staff needing work projects they could do at home, so we are able to do projects that would never get done for another 50 years, such as data entry of legacy tractor-feed printouts of video and audio tape collections, inventory and metadata for 50 years worth of 35mm color slides, and metadata for digital collections.  Also, I taught myself the open source programs OBS Studio a Virtual Dub, and have been digitizing VHS historic VHS tapes from the archives at home, resolving numerous technical issues with audio/video synchronization by trial and error, and pluck.

    Online learning and working remotely will continue well into 2021.  We venture to campus when we have to, to use Microfilm or to locate physical materials in the processed and unprocessed collections.  In May I began hosting a Tuesday afternoon coffee hour for our library staff colleagues on Zoom, which continues.  On a hot July evening, I hosted a Russian Fulbright scholar who was doing research on American suburbs from 1950s-1960s at the University of Kansas.  The scholar made a special overnight trip to Chicago just to see the Park Forest 1950s Museum housed at St. Mary's Church in Park Forest, and I volunteered to pick him up from the University Park train station, give him a tour, and return him to the train station so he could catch a train to Omaha Nebraska the next morning. We took off our face masks just for the photo.  The year has been surreal but we are getting a lot of long standing projects done!!  

    Left: Alexandr Zhidchenko, University of Kansas Fulbright scholar.  Right: Paul Blobaum, Governors State University

  • 15 Dec 2020 10:49 AM | Doris Cardenas

    Please enjoy this week's story which was submitted by Jerice Barrios from the North American Province of the Cenacle. 


    Quarantine began for me at 2pm on March 17, 2020. As soon as I received the go-ahead from my supervisor, I packed up my laptop and files, got on the train, and headed home. During the three-month mandatory lockdown, my primary emotion was gratitude. I was grateful to be in profession where working from home was an option. I was grateful to the Cenacle Sisters for considering the Archives an essential service. I was also grateful to my family who supported me, giving me an “office space” and weaving their lives around my schedule.  

    I had never really worked from home before, so I needed all the help I could get. In the first weeks, I learned just how much self-discipline it takes to log eight hours of work when all you really want to do is stay in bed reading the latest coronavirus news on your phone. My love/hate relationship with Zoom meetings began during this time: yes, a Zoom meeting is better than nothing, but I definitely get tired of only seeing people through little electronic boxes.

    Baby Yoda was my work from home desk mascot.

    When lockdown restrictions lifted in June, my assistant and I were informed that we were expected to return to the office. For the most part, I was glad to be able to get out of the house and back to some semblance of “normal,” even though I was very aware that the coronavirus was still out there, and still as dangerous as ever. Also at that time, the political situation in Chicago was volatile. Our planned June 1 return to the office had to be postponed for a week because our downtown building was boarded up due to the riots in the wake of the killing of George Floyd.

    Working in the Loop is a stark reminder that we are living in a very specific cultural and economic moment. With so many office workers absent, downtown businesses and restaurants are shutting down. Some may return, some may not. Uncertainty is the mood of the times. With COVID-19 cases increasing again, we may be headed for a second mandatory lockdown, but in the face of the unknown, I believe more than ever in the importance of archivists as the keepers of the historical record. History gives me hope: Chicago has survived disasters before, and we will survive COVID-19 as well.

    Closed and boarded up restaurants are becoming a common sight in downtown Chicago.

  • 30 Nov 2020 6:36 PM | Doris Cardenas

    This week's story is submitted by April Anderson-Zorn from the Dr. Jo Ann Rayfield Archives at Illinois State University.


    I’m south of the suburbs in Bloomington/Normal, IL at Illinois State University.  Before the pandemic, I commuted from Champaign, Illinois, to Normal.  My husband was working at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, so we rented a house for a time.  Then, late last year, I became pregnant.  His contract ended early this year (he works in tech theatre), so we decided to move back to Bloomington.  The day we signed the papers to buy our 95-year-old house was the day the Governor put the shelter-at-home order in place.  Our plan to move the following weekend was pushed up to the next day!  We panic-packed our house and moved while I was seven months pregnant.  Then, in late May, I had complications that sent me to the hospital in Champaign, which resulted in the healthy (but month early) birth of our daughter, Evelyn.  All of this while I was working from home!  I ran the Archives, assisted faculty and students where we could with reference requests, and launched our COVID collecting site.  Honestly, I think this is the busiest I’ve ever been, despite working from home.


    Having said that, my new co-worker is quite adorable.  

    Also, our local NPR station did a story about our pandemic experience:

  • 16 Nov 2020 5:44 PM | Doris Cardenas

    Enjoy the next story in our web series submitted by Allison Schein Holmes of WTTW/Chicago PBS and WFMT Chicago.


    When rumors of the lockdown started, I had to prep my new team for remote working.  I was already set up at home; for three days a week, I worked remotely in the afternoons.  One staff member was able to transition while another had some complications.  They were already not comfortable with the office's technology, so setting them up with a new laptop was a whole other challenge.  While they have gotten better since the pandemic started, I often have to troubleshoot with someone who does not always know how to explain the issue.   Our organization was not wholly equipped to send everyone home with working machines, so many had to take their desktops since laptops were becoming scarce!

    I have found that I get into the "office" an hour earlier, making me way more productive than ever!  I was able to process over a thousand backlogged files due to having large chunks of time with no interruptions.  My coworkers are a little noisy, though, and insist on following me wherever I go. That is a challenge! 

    I have learned how to bake bread and signed up for a CSA weekly delivery to improve my cooking skills since we are not going out as much, or sadly, a few places that we love have been affected by the pandemic.  While I enjoy working from home, I miss the tapes and the people I work with. I hope that I will return to the office once a week for about a month to keep digitization moving, but as another lockdown is approaching, I am not sure how viable that will be.

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